Textiles (technical)

A new textile design was reported by Rice University that incorporates a metal plated outer textile joined to an inner normal textile. The outer layer conducts electricity and so can be instantly heated up while the inner layer remains at a normal temperature. The suggested application is for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as gloves. Viruses on the outside of the glove can be killed instantly by the heat while the hand inside of the glove is unaffected. The effect on bacteria is less certain.

One might imagine that a dry heat environment, such as by inserting one’s hands for a moment inside an small oven, could do the same thing while wearing similarly layered gloves. This pathway is apparently less certain.

See the C&EN article or the Global Spec article (see related articles too).

So why is this a Zero Waste issue? Simply because it presents a new option in design that can result in multiple reuse. Doctors and technicians who constantly strip off single-use plastic gloves to toss them into a waiting trashcan have become a common meme. This article suggests that gloves might have hundreds of uses. I doubt that gloves are the only product whose life could be extended by use of this conductive layer. Now the ZW question becomes; what redesign of this layered textile is needed to make them perpetually reusable themselves?